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Official Country Name: Tokelau
Region: Oceania
Population: 1,458
Language(s): Tokelauan, English
Literacy Rate: NA

Tokelau consists of three atolls—Atafu, Fakaofo, and Nukunonu—located in the middle of the South Pacific with a population between 1,700 and 1,800 people. Declared a British Protectorate in 1889, Tokelau was transferred under New Zealand administration in 1925. The church established the first institutionalized schools in the 1860s.

The system was reviewed in 1997, and most of the earlier policies were changed and modified. The goals of the educational system include providing learning opportunities for the country's children and assisting the development of its future human resources. Schooling is compulsory and free for the first 10 years. Each atoll has a school that caters to the preschool level (5 years of age) through year 10 level (14 years of age), as well as one national class for the whole group. Each atoll takes a turn hosting the national (year 11 level) for five consecutive years on a rotational basis. The language policy underwent modification as well when Tokelau and English became the languages of instruction.

The Education Department is accountable to parents, village councils, and the national government through the director and support staff. Each school has a principal, a deputy, and teaching staff organized into three syndicates with a leader responsible for a group of teachers and classes. The academic year is divided into four terms with two-week holiday breaks.

Last year, the total number of students attending the three schools was 529, made up of 264 girls and 265 boys. The teaching staff stands at about 30 qualified teachers, assisted by a number of teacher aides. The department has also recruited three New Zealand VSA teachers with the assistance of the New Zealand Government.

Internal assessment, end of term tests, and final examinations are the basis of evaluating student progress and the curriculum. There is however, a national examination at the completion of the national year 11 level where a number of scholarships are selected for further studies in Samoa. Further selections for students to study in higher learning institutions in New Zealand and the surrounding region are based on regional examination passes.

—Kelihiano Kalolo

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